‹ 2010 Flag of Great Britain without Scotland (vector) 2021 ›
United Kingdom general election, 2016
All 587 seats in the House of Commons
294 seats needed for a majority
16 March 2016
Turnout 65.7%
First party Second party Third party
EdMiliband GeorgeOsborne2015 Nick clegg
Leader Ed Miliband George Osbourne Nick Clegg
Party Labour Conservatives Liberal Democrats
Leader's seat Doncaster North Witney Sheffield Hallam
Last election 258 seats, 29.0% 306 seats, 36.1% 57 seats, 23.0%
Seats before 256 302 57
Seats won 285 265 14
Seat change 29 37 43
Percentage 11.32% 12.25% 75.44
Fourth party
Nigel farage
Leader Nigel Farage
Party UKIP

Leader's seat South Thanet
Last election 0 seats, 0%
Seats won 10
Seat change 10
Colours show the winning party in each seat.
Prime Minister before election
George Osbourne
Elected Prime Minister
Ed Milliband

The 2016 UK General Election was held on the 16th of March 2016 to elect the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom. It was the first one held after Scotland left the UK, and was delayed until Scotland had left.

With the resignation of David Cameron from the Conservative Party due to the loss of the referendum, George Osborne and Theresa May had both campaigned to become leader of the Conservative Party, with Osborne winning the election. Many were surprised that Boris Johnson had not stood, but Johnson was well aware this election was a lost cause due to it being blamed for Scotland's independence and and that he has a better chance for the next election, planned for 2021. 

Nigel Farage continued to push hard and accused the Scottish of being their loss. With many people angry at the Conservatives over both the referendum results and the deal, Nigel Farage claims he would have secured a better deal - he rises in the opinion polls.

Nick Clegg's time in government had made him unpopular and his party sinks very low in the rankings, meaning they are only likely to be saved by dislike of all the other politicians. Indeed, the splitting of the right-wing vote between the Conservatives and UKIP meant the Liberal Democrats were voted into many areas.

While the Labour party under Ed Milliband was not at its strongest with Milliband personally behind Boris Johnson by ten points, his party is still ahead of the Conservatives in the polls.

As the elections are held ten months late, much to the criticism of Labour, the results are 279 seats to Labour, 270 to Conservatives, 15 to Lib Dem, ten to UKIP, eight to DUP, four to Sinn Fein, four to Plaid Cymru and one to the Greens. The Conservatives under George Osborne accepted their defeat becoming the Official Opposition, and forcing Osborne's resignation. A second Tory leadership bid was held, with Johnson this time winning the leadership.

Election process

All British, Scottish, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over the age of 18 on the day of the election were permitted to vote, which takes place in all parliamentary constituencies of the United Kingdom to elect Members of Parliament (MPs) to seats in the House of Commons, the dominant and lower house of Parliament. Each constituency elects one MP to the House using the "first past the post" system. If one party within the House of Commons obtains a majority of seats then it is entitled to form the Government. If no single party has a majority, known as a hung parliament, either a minority or coalition government must be formed.

Date of the Election

The election was held after the dissolution of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and was the first to be held under the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011. While the Election was due to be held in May 2015, the departure of Scotland from the United Kingdom at the same time called for the election to be delayed until the new nation had stabilized.


The key dates were

Wednesday 19 March 2016 Dissolution of the 55th Parliament, campaigning officially begins
Friday 11 March Last day to file nomination papers, to register to vote and to request a postal vote
Wednesday 16 March 2016 Polling day
Friday 25 March 2016 State Opening of Parliament

Contesting political parties and candidates

Great Britain-based

Amongst dozens of minor parties, the main Great Britain-based parties (not including Northern Ireland) are listed below in order of seats won:

Labour Party: led by Ed Miliband, the then leader of the opposition. Labour had been in power from 1997 to 2010, and had constituted Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition from the 2010 election, having won 258 seats.

Conservative Party: led by George Osbourne, then Prime Minister. The Conservatives were the larger party in the coalition government, having won the most seats (306) at the 2010 Election.

Liberal Democrats: led by Nick Clegg, then Deputy Prime Minister. The Liberal Democrats were the junior member of the 2010-2016 coalition government, having won 57 seats.

UK Independence Party (UKIP): led by Nigel Farage, a member of European Parliament who had not previously been in parliament, but was standing in South Thanet in the General election. UKIP wn the fourth most votes in the 2010 election but failed to win any seats, but subsequently won two seats through by-elections.

Green Party of England and Wales (GPEW): Led by Natalie Bennet, who had not previously been elected to Westminster, but stood in Holborn and St Pancras at the General Election. The GPEW won the fourth largest share of votes in the 2014 European elections, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

Plaid Cymru: led by Leanne Wood, who is a member of the Welsh Assembly and did not stand in the general election. Plaid Cymru organise only in Wales, where they contested all 40 Welsh constituencies. The party has 4 MPs and were fourth in Wales by vote share in 2010.

Northern Ireland

The main parties in Northern Ireland, which has 18 constituencies, described by Ofcom, the BBC and others, in alphabetical order, are:

• Alliance Party of Northern Ireland: The Alliance Party had one MP, Naomi Long, who was elected for the first time in 2010, though lost her seat in the 2016 General Election. The party was fifth in he 2010 election by vote share, fifth overall in 2011 and sixth in 2014. The Alliance has a relationship with the British Liberal Democrats in Great Britain, the party's former head indeed sitting in the House of Lords as a Liberal Democrat. Despite this, the Alliance's one MP elected in 2010 sat on the opposition benches and not with the Liberal Democrats on the government benches. The party contested all 18 Northern Irish constituencies in 2016.

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP): the DUP won eight seats in 2010, making them the largest Northern Irish political party and fourth biggest in the UK The party also won the 2011 Northern Ireland Assembly election, but were second in the 2014 European election. It contested 16 Northern Irish constituencies, having entered into an electoral pact with the Ulster Unionist Party in the remaining two.

Sinn Féin: Sinn Féin won the most votes in Northern Ireland in 2010, but came second in seats, winning just five constituencies. They were second in the 2011 Assembly elections and first in the 2014 European Elections. Sinn Féin has an abstentionist policy within the Commons and has never taken their seats there. The party also operates in the Republic of Ireland, where it does take seats. The party was standing in all 18 Northern Irish constituencies.

• Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP): the SDLP were third in terms of both votes and seats in the 2010 and 2011 elections, and fourth in the 2014 European elections. Prior to dissolution it had three MPs. The SDLP has a relationship with Labour, with SDLP mainly following the Labour whip. They contested all 18 constituencies.

Ulster Unionist Party (UUP): in 2010 the UUP shared an electoral alliance with the Conservatives and finished fourth in terms of votes in Northern Ireland, but won no seats. The party have one MEP, having placed third in the 2014 European elections. They were fourth in the 2011 Assembly elections. The UUP contested 15 seats, not running iin two due to its electoral pact with the DUP and in the third as it did not nominate a candidate against former UUP member independent Sylvia Hermon.

Pacts and possible coalitions

Due to the nature of the United Kingdom electoral system, essentially being a two-party system, coalitions have been rare as one party usually wins a majority. However, with the outgoing Government being a coalition and opinion polls not showing a large lead for any one party, there was much discussion about possible post-election coalitions. Some UK political parties which only stood in party of the country have reciprocal relationships. These include: • Labour (Great Britain) and SDLP (Northern Ireland)

• Liberal Democrats (Great Britain) and Alliance (Northern Ireland)

• Plaid Cymru (Wales) and Green Party (England and Wales)

•Green Party of England and Wales and Green Party in Northern Ireland.

Additionally, prior to Scottish Independence the SNP and Plaid Cymru recommended each other, as well as Green in England. On 17th February 2016 the Democratic Unionist Party and the Ulster Unionist Party agreed upon an electoral pact in which the DUP would not stand candidates in Fermanagh and South Tyrone and in Newry and Armagh, while the UUP would not stand in Belfast East and Belfast North. The SDLP however rejected a similar pact proposed by Sinn Féin.